Photovoltaic energy grew 22% in 2022 worldwide, double that of renewables as a whole

Photovoltaic energy grew 22% in 2022 worldwide, double that of renewables as a whole

The installed power worldwide in equipment and photovoltaic power plants (plates or panels for electricity generation by harnessing sunlight) grew by 22% in 2022 compared to the previous year, far exceeding the year-on-year increase achieved in power facilities wind, which was 9%, according to the report Renewable capacity statistics 2023published (March 21, 2023) by the Agency International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Spain is among the countries with the highest percentage increase in installed power in photovoltaic energy in 2022, with a 31.99% increase; but it is below the world average for growth in new wind energy equipment.

“The global electricity generation capacity with renewable technologies amounted to 3,372 gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2022, which represents a growth of 295 GW, that is, 9.6% per year,” details the Irena report.

Among the most outstanding advances in this annual report is the fact that “an impressive 83% of the total electrical capacity [de todo tipo de fuentes] of new construction or installation in 2022 corresponds to renewable energy equipment”, indicates Irena. In addition, this growth occurs in moments of global uncertainty, and “confirms the downward trend of electricity generation based on fossil fuels”.

“This record of sustained growth reflects the resilience of renewable energy in a time of persistent energy crisis,” says Francesco La Camera, CEO of Irena.

“The strong business case for renewables, coupled with the adoption of enabling policies, has kept their share of the global energy mix on the rise year-over-year. But renewable electricity capacity needs to increase annually at triple the current rate by 2030 if we want to stay on the path of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C”, recalls La Camera.

Spain, close to the world average

The data from the new IRENA report show that the electrical power installed in Spain with renewable energies stood at a total of 67,909 MW in 2022, with a year-on-year growth of 9.51% (the world average was 9.6%). . Wind energy had 29,308 Mw of installed capacity at the end of last year (with an annual growth of 5.01%) and photovoltaic solar energy reached 18,214 Mw (with an interannual increase of 31.99%).

Although many countries increased their renewable capacity in 2022, the most relevant growth is concentrated in some countries and regions such as Asia, the United States and Europe.

IRENA data shows that almost half of the total new capacity in 2022 was added in Asia, reaching a total of 1.63 terawatts (TW) of renewable capacity. The largest contribution was from China, which added 141 GW to the mainland’s new capacity.

In Europe and North America, renewables grew by 57.3 GW and 29.1 GW respectively. Africa continued its steady expansion with an increase of 2.7 GW, slightly higher than the previous year. Oceania maintained its double-digit growth with an expansion of 5.2 GW and South America continued its upward trend, with an expansion of 18.2 GW. The Middle East saw the largest increase in renewables on record, with 3.2 GW of new capacity commissioned in 2022, reflecting an increase of 12.8%.

Photovoltaic solar energy is now growing at a faster rate than wind energy.

Photovoltaic solar energy is now growing at a faster rate than wind energy.

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Francesco La Camera explains in an official note from Irena that “with the expectation of an increase in energy demand in many regions of the world, the energy transition requires a radical change that allows a strategic movement beyond the decarbonization of supply. Any new capacity expansion that is not based on renewables, in light of recent global events, must be linked to efforts to accelerate the energy transition to increase the resilience, inclusiveness and climate resilience of the system.”

Although hydropower, at 1,250 GW, had the highest share of total renewable generation capacity globally, solar and wind continued to dominate new generation capacity. Both technologies jointly contributed 90% of the share corresponding to the total new renewable capacity in 2022.

Outstanding data by technology:

• Hydropower: Renewable hydropower capacity increased by 21 GW (+2%), an expansion consistent with recent years.

• Wind power: With an increase of 75 GW (+9%) in 2022, the growth of wind power continued to slow compared to the last two years.

• Solar energy: Solar photovoltaic (PV), with an increase of 191 GW, accounted for almost all of the increase in solar electricity in 2022.

• Bioenergy: Expansion slowed slightly in 2022 (+7.6 GW compared to +8.1 GW in 2021).

• Geothermal Power: Geothermal power increased by a very modest 181 MW.

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